Saturday, May 24, 2014


So I've done a little public speaking, here and there. The first few times, I was nearly immobilized by nerves. I mean, like, the caterpillars who usually crawl around in the pit of my stomach had branched out, formed chrysalises in every imaginable part of my body, emerged as butterflies and were flying through every inch of my being. It seems that each time I speak, the nerves get a little easier to handle. Now they are typically located in the pit of my core, where they belong. I start to hyperventilate only about five minutes before it's my turn to speak which, let's face it, is simply too late to back out.

I haven't been doing much speaking lately. That was just a long way of saying, nerves usually get better over time. The more you do something, the less nervous you are about it.

Except. No. There is an area, for me, in which this does not prove true.

I am not a singer, by nature. That is to say that while my car, my shower, and virtually every room in my home know that my life is characterized by loud (often off key) song, I'm not a stand-up-in-front-of-everyone-and-sing-a-solo kind of singer.

Because the horror. The possible probable voice crackage. The potential for humiliation knows no boundaries. Truth be told, I wanted, almost desperately, to sing in the middle school choir. I didn't because I was terribly afraid and, assumed, in all the wisdom of my twelve years, that I needed years of elementary singing experience in order to be of any worth to a middle school choir. More truth be told, I wanted to audition for singing roles in my high school musical theatre class but I didn't because I'd convinced myself that I'd most definitely have needed extensive voice training to do such a thing--even when my friends without such training were landing roles. In college I very nearly took voice lessons in the music department but didn't because THAT WOULD MEAN SINGING ALL ALONE IN FRONT OF SOMEONE WITH ACTUAL MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE. Somehow, I'm still not entirely sure why, I auditioned for a role in Into the Woods.

I bombed the audition on account of not being able to remember when to come in and making my pianist start over again.

Still, because I'm some sort of glutton for punishment, I auditioned AGAIN for a musical. This time, a role in Godspell which I landed in large part entirely because there were only seven girls auditioning for a show with five females. One of the girls had some kind of tongue issue and when she sang or spoke it would dramatically protrude from her mouth. That's a bit challenging when you're hoping to get work on stage. I don't remember what the issue was with the other girl but I'm sure there was something because there's no other earthly explanation for why I was cast. Still, it remains, to date, the most fun I've probably ever had on stage*.

When it came time to sing my NOT ONE BUT TWO solos, I thought I might shrivel up and die from nerves.

I sang this incredibly silly song called Learn Your Lessons Well--a song that features the phrases "swath of sinners" and "there's gonna be a quiz at your ascension". Not only does the song sound like something from a children's church camp, I'm fairly certain I disagree with 87% of its theology, I had to stand on top of a table while I was singing it AND (if memory serves me correctly) we were performing on a raked stage. For the first few nights, whenever it was coming up, I internally panicked, temporarily wished I would die, worried mightily that I'd miss the cue (as I had a past history of that and all), and sighed huge breaths of relief when it was over.When no one threw tomatoes at me, I got the confidence boost necessary to sing the second solo.

Not long after we moved here, I got the crazy notion that joining the worship team would be a good idea. I don't know, maybe I was attempting to reinvent myself. Maybe my love for music was finally taking over. Maybe I'd managed to sleep through a full frontal lobotomy.

Last summer I sang a duet with my friend, Abi (HI ABI!). I don't even remember how it all happened but it did and when I stood up to sing that song I thought I would literally die before it was over. I was shaking so badly that it looked like I had an actual disorder of the nervous system. Also, there was a great deal of excess sweating. So, pretty much, there I was, trying to sing a song to Jesus, all the while convulsing and perspiring. I imagine I looked a bit like a heroine addict in withdrawal**.

Then I sang a song with our worship pastor (HI CHRIS) at Christmas. And here is where history should repeat itself. Here is where I should sweat a little less and stand a little more still with each new singing experience. But. No. I simply do not trust my voice to sing the correct notes and the thought of having my voice crack or go sharp or go flat or just not sound very good in general in front of ALL THE PEOPLE is just terrifying.

We sang another song in the late winter.

And another one just last Sunday.

And I really love it. I do. I love the rehearsal process. Back in my college days, when I wasn't cast in a play (read: MOST OF THE TIME), I would hang out in the theatre. If I was cast in a show (read: NOT MOST OF THE TIME), I would go on days I wasn't even called just to be around all that creative energy, just to learn, just to be. I love, especially, to try to use my voice to bring God praise and honor.

I do not love the nerves. The nerves might kill me dead one day. They just don't seem to be getting better. But I made it through the run of Godspell without a single hurled tomato. So there's always that.

This cast features
1. One of my bridesmaids/best friends. (HI KRISTIN!)
2. Someone I dissected a fetal pig with and who happened to be one of my rocks when the poo hit the fan when I broke up with my fiance in the middle of directing her in a one act.
3. My ex-fiance.
4. Someone who announced onstage during a performance that she was pregnant (she had a husband so it didn't come completely out of left field but the timing was maybe not great). Said someone also had the most incredible voice. Of, like, ever.
5. Someone who's wedding I was a bridesmaid in.
6. Our college librarian.
7. My ex-fiance's roommate.
8. The child of a millionaire.
9. A person who, in one of our rehearsals actually said, "Oh, I just missed that note. That's the first note I've ever missed." And s/he meant in his/her entire life.
10. Me

*My resume is short, don't judge.
**But I wasn't. Drugs are bad.

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